More than 440 thefts and more than 270 assaults reported on Redbridge buses since start of 2017

The 86 bus travels from Stratford, through Ilford to Romford and back again. Picture: Sean Quinn/Wik

The 86 bus travels from Stratford, through Ilford to Romford and back again. Picture: Sean Quinn/Wikimedia Commons - Credit: Archant

There have been 920 criminal offences – ranging from fraud to sexual assault – recorded on buses in Redbridge since the start of 2017, the Recorder can reveal.

A Freedom of Information request (FOI) to the Metropolitan Police revealed the number of bus-related crimes recorded in the borough since 2017.

The Met defines bus-related crime as "offences occurring on buses, at bus stops, at bus garages/ terminuses and those offences happening near them or were instigated because of the network infrastructure".

Offences have included 37 instances of criminal damage, six drugs offences, one case of fraud or forgery, 106 robberies, 39 sexual offences, 447 thefts and 273 instances of violence against the person.

Most categories have seen numbers fall since 2017.

However, the figures for Redbridge do reveal that the number of drugs offences committed on buses in the borough is rising.

Only one offence was recorded last year, but in the first half of 2019 three have been logged.

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There had also been 31 reported robberies on Redbridge buses by the end of June this year, meaning 2019 is almost certain to surpass last year's robbery total of 32.

The number of offences annually is recorded as 370 taking place in 2017, 329 in 2018 and 221 recorded up to June 30 this year for a grand total of 920 offences.

Redbridge has seen a much higher level of bus crime in that period than neighbouring borough Havering, which recorded 725 offences.

Transport for London (TfL) pays for more than 2,500 police officers - drawn from the Met (MPS), the British Transport Police and the City of London Police - to patrol the capital's transport networks and tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.

A TfL spokesman added: "We significantly fund a dedicated unit with the MPS called the MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC).

"The RTPC is currently the largest police command in the UK; made up of over 2,300 officers who work to ensure all journeys across the road and surface transport network are safe, secure and reliable."

The methods the Metropolitan Police use to target bus-related crimes were in the news earlier this month after a man was jailed for three and a half years after being convicted of two sexual assaults on buses in south east London in the space of an hour.

Speaking after that sentencing, the RTPC's Det Con Darren Barlow, who led the investigation, said: "I hope that this result shows how hard officers in the Roads and Transport Command work to identify people who commit predatory offences on London's transport network.

"As always, we continue to urge the travelling public to be vigilant and look out for each other, and report any offences or anything suspicious to police right away by calling 999 or 101 - you can also speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."